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ORLANDO-Former southern Arizona homebuilder Mel Zuckerman and his wife Enid, who jointly created Canyon Ranch, a multimillion-dollar health fitness company from a rundown dude ranch 22 years ago, have leased 20,000 sf at the 1,406-room, $404 million Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL, 20 miles south of Downtown Orlando and one mile from the main entrance to Walt Disney World.

Zuckerman, in Tucson, AZ and Gaylord Palms officials in Nashville, TN couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn details of the leasing contract. But Orlando area hospitality brokers, familiar with the Gaylord Palms project, tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the Canyon Ranch lease is for at least 10 years at an estimated rent of $25 per sf. That would place the estimated aggregate value of the lease at $5 million.

The Zuckermans plan a spa, fitness center and full-service beauty salon in the leased quarters when the hotel opens in February. The first 65,000-sf Canyon Ranch Spa Club opened in Las Vegas in 1999 at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.

The couple’s first project, Canyon Ranch Health Resort, opened in 1979 in Tucson. Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires at Lenox, MA debuted in 1989. The Zuckermans plan to open a third spa club about the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship in 2003.

The couples’ three limited liability operating companies are ZC Investments, CR License and Canyon Ranch Management.

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